All successful restaurants have one thing in common – a successful restaurant marketing strategy. There has been a shift in the way people decide which restaurant to dine at; they seek the help of technology to determine the best place. With the introduction of various search engines, social media sites, restaurant reviews site, etc. people hardly seem to rely on the word-of-mouth and instead search about that restaurants online.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies You Should Follow
Running a successful restaurant in the digital age can be a little daunting, even for the established players. These tips would help you determine how successful restaurants market and reach out to more people.
1. Getting Ranked Locally
It has become commonplace nowadays for people to check Google for suggestions when deciding a place to dine at. Thus, it necessary to have a strong online presence. The first step of doing this having an updated Google My Business account that would help you appear in front of the people in your area who are searching for ‘restaurants near me.’
Cafe Monarch one of the most famous restaurants in Arizona tops the Google listing when searching for popular restaurants in the U.S. They have an updated Google My Business listing with good ratings which helps them secure the top position in the Google listing. This makes the restaurant one of the most popular choices for dining.
Secondly, you must have an updated restaurant website that is SEO optimized for the terms and keywords that you want your restaurant to be known for. For instance, if you serve Mexican food, your website should be optimized for words like ‘best Mexican food,’ ‘Mexican restaurant,’ ‘Quesadillas,’ ‘Tacos,’ etc.
Apart from this, if you have online ordering enabled on your restaurant website, you can also consider running Adwords to encourage online orders.
Having a good local online presence would make your restaurant more desirable amongst the local crowd which would help you lure in more people.
2. Make Social Media Your Friend
Social media is a powerful tool used by millions of people every day. You can create a strong social media profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and can reach out to many people. Now, to attract more customers having a social media account is not enough. You need to run captivating campaigns and post regularly to lure in more people.
Everyday several people scroll through the pictures of food and restaurants on Instagram or come across the check-ins that pop up on facebook. Restaurants are taking help of social media platforms to create brand awareness and to differentiate their restaurant amongst the rest.
One such example is of Applebee’s, America’s famous grill plus bar. They have a very enticing Twitter handle; they keep tweeting witty posts that are filled with humor and also notify people of any special offers they might be running.
If you post regularly about the special offers on your social media profile, this will let people know what you have in store for them; also, this ensures customer engagement. Visual content such as pictures and videos attracts more attention. Also, make sure that you are posting high-quality images as they are more pleasing to look at and makes your page look professional. Come up with innovative competitions and hashtags to start a trend amongst your customers.
A social media presence is significant as this is where you talk to your regular customers and market your restaurant to potential customers.
You need to plan out your posts and also, decide if the post would target national or local audience. Create a Social Media Marketing Calendar and schedule your posts beforehand to avoid last minute hassles.
3. Encourage Online Reviews
With people leaving comments and reviews online you cannot afford to miss out on them. Reading online reviews is a deciding factor for the customers when planning to dine at a restaurant. With consumer review websites like Zomato, Yelp, etc. emerging it is essential to maintain an online reputation of your restaurant. Consumer review sites work similar to word-of-mouth marketing where people leave a review about your restaurant, and this impacts the decision of a person to either visit or not to visit your restaurant.
It is crucial to create a profile on these consumer review sites as this would help you provide additional information about your business. Having a profile would also enable you to respond to the comments or reviews, it is essential to be courteous when responding to the reviews, be it good or bad.
Once you have a profile set up, encourage people to leave reviews. This would help you gain popularity and would make your restaurant look well established. You can also offer incentives to help motivate your customers to leave a review.
Tao Downtown is one of the most successful restaurant & bar in New York City, they have 2,180 reviews on their Facebook page alone and 1,504 reviews on Google which makes them look authentic. These reviews help Tao to analyze the needs of the customers and to cater to them. This makes Tao more desirable and the most popular spot in New York.
4. Venture Into Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the top restaurant marketing channels, and for every dollar you spend on emails, you can expect an average return of $38. It is an excellent medium for customer engagement and works well to retain customers as well.
Make the email attractive, add images and appealing content. You can also add a call to action button along with your email text for online ordering or booking a table.
Email marketing helps in spreading a word about new offers or special discounts your customers can avail. This is an excellent way of reaching out to people who have previously interacted with your restaurant and to have them coming back.
5. Loyalty Programs And Discounts
Running Loyalty Programs and offering discounts are the most tried and tested methods of restaurant marketing and are used by many restaurant brands and chains in the U.S. While discounts and offers attract people to your restaurant, loyalty programs give people an incentive to keep coming back.
Olive Garden does this very well. They have a special Olive Garden e-club, which encourages people which incentivizes people for joining by offering a free appetizer or dessert. They further engage with their customers by regularly sending them updates about special events and offers.
6. Host Special Events
Hosting events is a great way of inviting people to your restaurant which several successful restauranteurs uphold by. It is a great way of encouraging people to come to interact with your restaurant business. You can promote these events on your social media profiles and send out exclusive email invites to people.
You can host events like:
- Cooking workshops
- Inviting a well-known musician, or a DJ
- Hosting a famous bartender
- A stand up comedy night
These are a few examples of some events that you can host at your restaurant and create a buzz amongst the crowd. Such events help attract customers and lure them into your restaurant.
Spoon and Stable, a very popular restaurant in Minneapolis keep organizing events now and then. They organized an event called “With The Grain“ which was focused on bringing the food straight from the farm to the table. To make the event exclusive they handed out a handful of tickets and also had live music.
The competition in the restaurant business is very fierce, anything that can help give you an upper hand should be taken into consideration. Currently, there are more than 660,755 restaurants in the U.S, and this number is likely to grow even more in the days to come. Considering the stiff competition in the USA restaurant industry, it is essential for you to have a smart restaurant marketing strategy that would help you stand out among your competitors and attract as well as retain customers.
Employ these restaurant marketing ideas and see how your sales increase!